Technology adoption. That has been one of the biggest and most important challenges I’ve faced throughout my career. For nearly all of the enterprise problems I’ve worked to solve, the solutions incorporated some kind of technology- a software platform, hardware device, web application, database, automation, cloud service, the list goes on and on.
But the biggest challenges to overcome in effectively implementing these solutions tend not to be the technical challenges, but the people ones. No matter how elegant the technology and well-designed the solution- if people aren’t using it, it can’t fully succeed. Resistance to adoption of technology can come from anywhere, and sometimes it’s not the people you expect that present these challenges. It can often be folks who have quite a lot of technical skill, but for various reasons are operating with a fixed mindset. If you haven’t already been fully exposed to Carol Dweck’s work on fixed and growth mindset- here’s a video with some background:
Resistance can come from the user audience, from project stakeholders, contributors, but the most challenging resistance comes from people in leadership positions. When project leaders or sponsors aren’t embracing tech solutions, the obstacles grow to 10 times their height. Important to remember when you’re in a position of leadership!
So what can you do, if you are in a position of leadership and you’re faced with adopting a new technology you’re not quite ready to jump in with? Here are a few tips to help you build your own growth mindset and get ready to tackle your problems using technology.
- Recognize that you have a choice in your approach and actions. You can master new technology, you can try doing things you haven’t seen work. It’s your choice to build new skills or not. It may mean some temporary setbacks or failures, but ultimately you can (and should) embrace tools and technology that have the potential to help you reach your goals.
- Recognize when your resistance is holding you back. If you’re pushing for a “same-old-way” solution because you’re worried you won’t know how to function with a new tool- acknowledge that. You may find there are more supports than you thought for gaining the skills you need to adopt new technology. Remember, the cost of not changing is often higher, and there are so many resources to learn from!
- Change your inner monologue. When you hear that inner skeptic going “sure, but I’m never going to figure out how it works”, start inner-talking-back to it. “I can figure out how it works, I learn new things all the time, and skill comes through practice and effort”. With effort and time this will become easy!
Working through your own resistance will pave the way for your team to innovate and get better access to the competitive advantages that come from early adoption. As you begin to embrace the growth mindset and take on new challenges more readily, your team and colleagues will benefit, and follow your lead to success.